FORT HOOD — Damning documents in which Maj. Nidal Hasan dictated his planned attack on Fort Hood soldiers are available online, but will not be permitted for use by prosecutors.
Hasan released a portion of his long-form sanity board report to the New York Times. Three pages of the document have been available for download since the newspaper published an article about their release Monday night.
While Hasan told the presiding judge the authorization of their release amounted to him waiving confidentiality, Col. Tara Osborn told prosecutors they should not read them.
Prosecutors brought up the documents at the outset of day seven of Hasan’s court-martial. Other portions were released to Fox News, but the most recent disclosure contains an account of the shooting in Hasan’s words that could be used to prove the attack was premeditated.
Prosecutors must convince the jury of that key point in order to secure a death sentence for the 42-year-old Army psychiatrist.
Knew he wouldn’t return
Hasan told a three-officer panel conducting the sanity review he decided to carry out the attack about 1:15 p.m. because he knew the medical processing building would be crowded with soldiers.
Before traveling there, Hasan shredded key documents and gave away most of his possessions to a neighbor, telling the panel “he knew he would not be home that day,” the report stated.
Hasan also said he walked to a nearby graduation ceremony to find more soldiers to kill, but headed back to the processing building because graduation gowns made it impossible for him to distinguish soldiers from civilians.
“That clearly goes to prove premeditation, but the judge ruled that this should not have been released in the first place,” said military law expert Richard Rosen, a former judge advocate general at Fort Hood and law professor at Texas Tech University.
Osborn’s ruling came at the end of a day in which forensic pathologists described the gunshot wounds that caused the deaths of many of the shooting victims.
Clinical testimony of armed forces medical examiners dominated the day. In total, three doctors from the U.S. Air Force and Army detailed post-mortem examinations performed at a facility in Dover, Del., roughly two days after the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting.
In dry, technical language, Lt. Col. Dr. Edward Mazuchowski explained how bullets pierced the lungs, liver, diaphragm, spinal cord, spleen and stomach of Spc. Jason D. Hunt, 22. All three of Hunt’s gunshot wounds were likely lethal, but a shot to his left shoulder that pierced a lung and penetrated his heart killed the specialist “in seconds.”
“It’s a rapidly lethal wound,” Mazuchowski said.
Prosecutors presented photographs of each gunshot wound, bloody, bullet-torn uniform and diagrams detailing the deaths of retired Chief Warrant Officer-3 Michael Cahill, Pfc. Kham S. Xiong, Hunt, Pfc. Michael Pearson, Capt. Russel G. Seager and Staff Sgt. Justin M. Decrow. Lt. Col. Juanita Lee Warman’s autopsy was entered into evidence Tuesday.
The prosecution plans to call more forensic pathologists to the stand today to present the remaining six autopsies. The trial resumes at 9 a.m.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.